Amy Cagle is on a mission to “Paint the Town Gold” in September for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
The Gold Ribbon is the international symbol for childhood cancer, and Cagle is promoting the color gold this month to help bring more local awareness to the disease.
“It is every cancer mother’s dream for the gold ribbon to be as well recognized as the pink ribbon,” Cagle says. “Needless to say, our son being diagnosed with Leukemia was a life changing experience for our whole family.”
Auston Cagle was diagnosed with t-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in January 2010 at the tender age of 6 years old. Upon initial diagnosis, Auston was categorized as “high risk” due to a white blood cell count of 350,000. To put that in perspective, a normal count is anywhere between 4,500 and 10,000.
Auston would have to endure almost three and a half years of harsh chemotherapy, radiation to his brain, blood transfusions and innumerable hospital stays.
Because he didn’t have an immune system, Auston missed one and a half years of school, and a homebound teacher was brought in to help him keep up. Finally this past May, the Cagles celebrated Auston finishing his treatments.
“Auston no longer has to get chemotherapy; he simply visits his oncologist, Dr. Joseph Pressey at Children’s Hospital of Alabama, one time a month,” Amy reports. “Auston is a regular 10-year-old kid in the 5th grade at Cherokee Elementary School. His favorite subject is science, and he really enjoys the class pet snake, Elvis.”
Even though he is finished with chemotherapy treatments, Auston’s journey is still far from over. Children’s Hospital will continue to follow Auston’s health for at least 10 years. If he continues to do well, his visits will be scheduled further apart over time.
To personally recognize and bring awareness to childhood cancer in Guntersville, the Cagle family is hosting a blood drive to celebrate Auston finishing treatment. The blood drive will be held Sept. 14 at the Guntersville Church of Christ fellowship hall (800 Gunter Avenue) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hometown Designs in Guntersville is donating 75 childhood cancer awareness t-shirts to give away, and Amy made sure to note the blood drive hours do not interfere with college football games because Auburn plays at 6 p.m. and Alabama plays at 2:30 p.m. in Texas.
“Auston received blood so many times that I cannot possibly remember them all. This is just a small way for us to give back to others in need,” Amy says. “This is an important cause for us - there have been many times when we had to wait hours for blood. So please, we encourage everyone to come out and give the gift of life.”